Photo: @Kuzya92

Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s Traktor Chelyabinsk was eliminated from playoff contention a few hours before their game against Ak Bars on Tuesday. It was still a big game for Kuznetsov, who has been treating it as if it would be his last in Chelyabinsk.

This post contains everything we know so far. We’ll be updating throughout the day.

In the morning, Kuznetsov tweeted that “today would be a very difficult day.”

Via Fedor Fedin, R-Sport reported that Kuznetsov would leave for Washington after the game.

In an english version of their story, R-Sport quotes a source close to Kuznetsov that says:

“Kuznetsov wasn’t going to play in the Cup of Hope matches. He has already bought tickets and after the end of the KHL regular season, he will fly to North America,” the source said.

Via Igor Kleyner, Kuznetsov’s agent later reminded the press that Kuzya was still under KHL contract.

Kuznetsov’s agent Valery Gushchin told R-Sport:

“Don’t rush to send Kuznetsov off to the NHL just yet. He is playing against Ak Bars today, then all the questions with Traktor need to be resolved. While he is under contract with Chelyabinsk, Kuznetsov can not leave for Washington. It is too early to to say that Evgeny will play for Washington this season. Is it realistic to settle everything in a day? It is.”

Before the game started, Kuznetsov presented a zamboni with his name on it to Traktor’s hockey academy. According to Sovetsky Sport, the gift’s value is at least 4 million roubles (approximately $100,000).

Kuznetsov, said of the gift, “never forget where you were born and grew up.”


Traktor Chelyabinsk named Kuznetsov as a captain before the game. It was the first time he’s ever been captain of the team, and said a week earlier that if that if it happened, it would be a dream come true.

In the second period, Kuznetsov scored a power play goal to put Traktor up 2-1. He went down to one knee and pumped his fist after the goal.

Ak Bars won 3-2 in the shootout. Kuznetsov missed on his only shootout attempt.

11:15 AM Based on the structure of the new CBA, Kuznetsov’s future entry-level deal with Washington will be only for two years because he will be 22-years-old (May 19) before Sep. 15, 2014.

12:10 PM: Ovechkin comments on Kuznetsov to the Caps media after practice.

The Washington Post’s Katie Carrera has Ovechkin’s full comments.

“I don’t know how he’s going to play on small ice to be honest with you. He’s skilled guy. Of course probably going to need some time to realize what’s happening,” Ovechkin said, acknowledging that it would be an intense stretch of the season to throw Kuznetsov in the lineup with the Capitals vying for a playoff spot.

“I think when you 21 years old you have to understand especially right now when we fight for playoffs and every points counts,” Ovechkin said. “He just have to play his game and help us.”

12:25 PM: Adam Oates speaks about Kuznetsov.

Monumental Network has Oates’ full press conference with reporters.

12:35 PM: TSN’s Bob McKenzie shares what he’s hearing about Kuznetsov.

12:50: Troy Brouwer, clearly grouchy after not having lunch yet, talks about Kuznetsov.

Additional reporting and translations by Igor Kleyner.

Tagged with:
  • MarkGreenway

    Captain eh? Maybe he can bring some much needed leadership /end sarcasm

  • Graham Dumas

    Kuzya’s RU grammar already suffering a bit from purported move to Washington…

  • Graham Dumas

    On Traktor Chelyabinsk, much needed leadership bring YOU! [sigh]

  • Topher Gee

    You guys are just taunting Zamboni with that Olympia pic!

  • Rob W.

    Buying a $100,000 zamboni as a gift? what a selfish russian!

  • riggorules

    So is it worth speculating on where he’ll fit in yet, potential production this season?

  • hahaha

  • Ben Reed

    Trade him for a 4D.

  • Troy

    ^ someone gets it

  • wikipuff

    look at the lack of tape he uses!

  • You can decide how much speculation matters. Oates will determine ice time, and ice time will determine– to a large extent– his output.

  • Daniel Haske

    He had better get on a plane before the State Dept. has something to say about it…

  • JH

    Can’t wait to see where he’ll play. Some guys on the team are going to lose ice time. Should be interesting to see how Oates forms the lines. I’m sure it will be something crazy.

  • Tadd

    So.. have GMGM given Garth Snow a call to trade this super prospect for Tomas Vanek yet?

  • riggorules

    Conacher on waivers, worth a claim, imo

  • Benjamin Bruno

    you can have crimea
    just give us kuzya

  • Josh Carey

    Mike Vogel just tweeted that the Deschamps move has nothing to do with Kuzya, and followed it up by saying Volpatti isn’t ready to go…That leaves the Caps short a forward? Errr…Wishful thinking perhaps?

  • Remember – Orlov’s suspended and they called up Hillen. So Deschamps is sent down for Hillen. That’s my best guess.

  • Josh Carey

    Not sure I totally follow. Does that mean we could see 7 D tomorrow?

  • Tadd

    I liked that kid in TBL. Scored a bunch.

  • Freedoooom

    Brouwer needs to learn his place. What kind of moron starts off a teammate arriving with such a grouchy response, let alone one that is going to be a fan favorite, in fact probably already is.

  • Owen Johnson

    He’s probably soft too, eh. Not like the good ole grizzled Canadian boys.

  • I think so.

  • Alex

    Nick Deschamps was reassigned to Hershey, leaving only 11 forwards on the Caps’ active roster. Could they be waiting for an update on Kuznetsov’s fate? Could they be planning on acquiring a player through free agency? Time to hurry up and wait, I suppose…

  • Myan

    Brouwer knows his place and he also knows Kuyza’s place which is currently with Traktor. I’m glad that he’s focused on this current team instead of hypothesizing about how a kid who’s currently 5000 miles away is going fit into this team next week or next month or next season.

  • Alex

    Isn’t Deschamps a forward, though? Why would he get “sent down for Hillen”?

  • yv

    with Erat still in Caps have 12 Fs, even w/o Deschamps and Volpatti. Hillen has been already in the cap roster with 7 Ds. So, Caps set yet, but if Erat will go then they ‘d be 1F short and 2 roster space available.

  • Myan

    It would be nice to play him on that 4th line instead of having to rely on the services of Volpatti (shudders)

  • Myan

    So we’re going full on Tampa Bay and playing with 3 centers tomorrow?

  • riggorules

    Dustin Penner?

  • yv

    With Erat Caps still have 12 Fs.

  • Alex

    I finished updating my comment right as you started typing lol

  • yv

    yes, I see it below))

  • Josh Carey

    Volpatti can’t go. So with us having just got Penner, my guess is we didn’t give up anyone on the current roster. Which scares me.

  • yv

    A lot of problems would be solved regarding roster and salary cap, if Erat would be at-last ‘traded’ right now just for 2-4th pick and plus some help for Hershey who now reeling and also out of playoffs after 6 losses in a row.

  • He’s probably grumpy because he’s being traded or more likely because he knows Kuzya’s arrival could move him down the depth chart.

  • Yup, Penner deal was for a 5th round draft pick per TSN.

  • Josh Carey

    I’m really curious now to see what the corresponding move to free space will be…

  • Rob W.

    Milbury and Roenick probably hate him already

  • LasagnaSonja

    I’m not trying to be a Negative Nancy here, but this will never pan out in the Caps’ favor. The front office is allowing some douchey prospect call the shots, & that is not how it should be. He is allowed to walk all over the organization & decide when he comes to the US. IF I WERE GMGM, I would have given him an ultimatum months ago….. I would stop holding your breath, this is going to be nothing but continued drama.

  • Yo8

    They do since that Russian comeback in the WJC.

  • Yo8

    He is having Sasha flashbacks hahaha!

  • Dcsportsfan85

    Completely agree that was my first thought when I read that quote from Brouwer. Maybe he’s a little jealous of the attention he’s getting of nervous he might steal some of his thunder. I’m sure it’s annoying to constantly answer questions about him when the media is making him out to be the savior of this team when he hasn’t even signed a contract yet because he decided to stay an extra two yrs in Russia than he initially told the caps, which might have messed up some of their roster planning.

    However, regardless of it being annoying or bothering him (Brouwer) he’s a leader on this team that should set an example to make him feel welcome.

    Just hope he doesn’t call him a cake eater when he walks into the locker room. Just because you have a duck jersey doesn’t make you a duck.

  • brian!

    So glad he was given the captainship for the game! It’s a nice way to close the chapter and open a new one.

  • Owen Johnson

    If Milbury hates him, he’s okay in my book.

  • Roman Z.

    I down-voted you!

  • Eric Schulz

    You mean “enigmatic.”

  • Eric Schulz

    You would not have gotten him over to the NHL with an ultimatum, you just would’ve ruined the relationship between him and the Caps. He was UNDER CONTRACT with the KHL, and you aren’t allowed to move between leagues when under contract. He would not have, legally, been able to come over to the NHL; the KHL wouldn’t have allowed it, nor would he have appreciated your bullshit. His plan all along was to stay in the KHL for a few years; I always understood that this was to be his final year in the KHL before coming over to the NHL (hopefully this year, if not, then next year he’ll start in the NHL).

  • Fedor

    Ever heard of freedom of labour? Like, human rights? Constitution stuff and everything?

  • Graham Dumas